Public relations can be defined as a management function which establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the general public on whom its success or failure depends (Egan & Jefkins, 2004). Public relation has gone beyond the normal activity of communication. It now encompasses other activities that are aimed at improving the relationship of the organization and its clients (Egan & Jefkins, 2004).
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On the other hand, relationship marketing encompasses the act of business creating a mutually beneficial exchange with its partners (Egan & Jefkins, 2004). This aims at creating customer loyalty and interaction with the organization. This is achieved through delivering of customer information on needs under an open communication (Breakenridge, 2008).
In this study, we look at the impacts of public relations transformations towards the changing society, the literature review behind the public relation and relationship supporting theories. Lastly, we assess the importance of public relations and relationship management on a particular organization, Winbeldon championship, and how it has helped it in its various relations with the members of the general public.
The world has undergone various technological changes over the last few decades (Center & Jackson, 2003). This has resulted in changes to the society and the economy at large for various countries. One of the major revolutions in the technological change is in the introduction of computer based programs (Chaffey & Smith, 2008).
The information revolution has led to changes in the way of doing business which in turn affects the public relations (Center & Jackson, 2003). The computers have made it easy to write, edit information, and send messages (Chaffey & Smith, 2008). There is also instant receiving of feedback from the respondent.
Most services have also been transferred online such as bank services, library among others (Chaffey & Smith, 2008). The telephone industries with the help of computers have also come up with teleconferencing where people can meet and discuss various issues online. Through it, business can be able to reach out to clients and obtain information about their products.
Apart from changing the structure of conducting business, there are also new opportunities that have come up as a due to changes in the information (Egan & Jefkins, 2004). These include opportunities such as upgraded research capabilities and electronic media, which helps in reaching out to stakeholders (Curtin & Gaither, 2007).
PR experts can now send messages to specific audiences in various locations, job group categories, education levels among other. It is also possible to get instant feedback from the person receiving the message (Curtin & Gaither, 2007). Lastly, practitioners have an improved chance of assessing the effectiveness of the PR campaigns (Curtin & Gaither, 2007).
Public relations have borrowed a lot from other fields such as psychology, law, communication among others (Breakenridge, 2008). Many of the theories that try to explain various aspects in PR are borrowed from these fields. One of the theories of PR is the rhetorical approach (Breakenridge, 2008).
The theory helps in defining the rhetorical dialogue that arrives at conclusions and influence actions in two ways. In this approach, people could exchange statements between groups about various products, services, public policies among others which help in determining each groups view on values, realities and choices (Duhé, 2007).
When there is an eruption of disagreement, clients and PR experts help in adopting a persuasive discourse (Duhé, 2007). One area that rhetorical theory and asymmetrical theory come into an agreement is on the playing ground. This is because they both suggest that it should be level in a moral practice.
According to Health (2006), each public policy should be allowed to stand on its own merit in the market place. This statement falls in the asymmetrical view of public relations. However, critics on the theory of rhetorical approach say that it does not make public reactions appear more moral unless the people who are involved are equally resourced (Health, 2006).
Another approach to public relations and relationship management is developed by Ledingham and Bruning (Center & Jackson, 2003). They edited a book in the year 2000, which aimed at giving an approach to public relation. It helps in providing a better meaning of public relations in an organizational structure together with the society (Hung, 2009).
This approach provides the dimensions of organizational sponsoring and the public. This includes commitment, cooperation, credibility, openness, asymmetry among others. Under this model, it is the role of professional in public relation to outline the elements they mean when they are referring to a relationship in each project (Hung, 2009).
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Since aspects of relationship are not symmetrical, it is hard to compare it with other theories such as the one above. From the author’s point of view, relationship management approach is more of instrumental procedure rather than an approach (Hung, 2009). It can also be described as an aspect of “goodwill” in public relations. Thus, in this description it is able to cover many relationship dimensions as indicated above although not all of them may be categorized as symmetrical (Health, 2006).
A Wimbledon championship is an international sporting event that attracts a lot of interest from the public (Grunig, 2006). It has a rich history dating back to the year 1877. It has continuously improved in regard to changes in the information world. Its first stage was in All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet club in the year 1868 in Wimbledon (Grunig, 2006). The participant of the event had been drawn from the first year tournament of England.
It attracted many crowds within the region until the year 1905 when it moved to international. May Sutton from the United States of America was the first champion in the ladies singles after moving international (Grunig, 2006). It continued to attract many crowds all over the world every year except for the period of World War II to the year 1949 when it was not held. It started again after reconstruction of Europe was complete from the destructions of the war.
Despite having significant developments in the air travel in the 1950s, many people from overseas could not attend since the championship was not open to overseas participants. It lasted so until the year 1967 when it players from all categories admitted for its reopening. Since then, many changes have been made to give room for development in the organization and improvement of facilities (Barnett, 2008).
Long term plans for improvement of All England Lawn Tennis club were started in the year 1993 since it the club that hosts the championship (Grunig, 2006). This plan aimed at building a broadcasting center and increasing the court grass to two. This was achieved in the year 1997.
The second stage of the plan involved dismantling the first court in order to build a new building for press, players, officials and the members (Grunig, 2006). It also aimed at increasing the sitting capacity by 768 seats. The third stage involved constructing a housing club for staff, bank, ticket area, museums and also increasing the sitting capacity (Grunig, 2006). This was accomplished in the year 2011, and was crowned with the year 2011 championships.
The internal stakeholders of the Wimbledon championships include All England Lawn Tennis Club, club members, volunteers and representatives from the press, club staff and the committee of management (Watson & Noble, 2007). The external stakeholders include International Tennis Federation, players, officials, suppliers, community, The Lawn Tennis Association, transport providers and Wimbledon local authorities among others (Watson & Noble, 2007).
In the analysis of the internal stakeholders PR strategies, one strategy is the goal and strategy alignment for public strategies (Sweetser & Metzgar). This is aimed at those working in the planning and preparations of the championships to clearly define their goals together with those of the organization. This will help in setting priorities and keeping them at sight every time. A professional development strategy was developed for three professional development programs.
These include the staff, management committee and participants in the preparation of the championship (Sweetser & Metzgar). These were aimed at keeping them focused on their roles and are able to make developments in their fields. One program is online through the website while others are off line.
The employee rounding is a crucial management tool that is emphasized for implementation in all departments. Managers interact with each employee, volunteer, representative among other stakeholders in their daily duties or during informal meetings with small groups (Botan & Taylor, 2004). This help in strengthening the relationship between employees and managers as new ideas are easily exchanged in a friendly environment.
The other strategy is about recognition and appreciation (Sweetser & Metzgar). This involves giving attention to the employees’ ideas and suggestions and possibly going further to implementing them (Duhé, 2007). It also covers the part of appreciating employees for their exemplary work through various ways of recognising performance.
Lastly on internal analysis is the work balance which Wimbledon championship uses in communicating to its staff (Sweetser & Metzgar). This is achieved by developing a flexible schedule with time offs during workdays. During this time, employees have an opportunity to participate in charity events, volunteering or exercises.
In the analysis of the external stakeholders and RM strategies, a corporate website has been developed that links Wimbledon championships to the general public (Sweetser & Metzgar). Important messages and information are posted on the website. These include items such as tournament schedules, results, items available in the museum among others (Botan & Taylor, 2004).
Members and the general public can also post their comments, suggestions and also questions which they may be having about the championship and the public relations team can easily respond to them (Barnett, 2008). Another strategy is the media room control.
This is controlled by the public relations function that is linked to the website and it helps in posting relevant information for the public to know (Botan & Taylor, 2004). The public relations function is updated regularly and carries the same message with the corporate website. A blog spot has also been used in monitoring the relevant weblogs (Botan & Taylor, 2004).
The other strategy used by Wimbledon championship is press releases (Sweetser & Metzgar). They have been used in communicating with various stakeholders. The press is involved in preparation of the different events for the championships and thus releases firsthand information to the public (Botan & Taylor, 2004).
Also, the events are covered by media houses from all over the world because they attract competitors from all over the world. In the year 2011, championships, the public relation was given a boost. Before the beginning of the tournament, a documentary was first shown which was divided into four parts (Roper, 2005).
The first part was about the history of the Wimbledon championships, the achievements it has gained and the anticipated future of the championships. Lastly, public relations also use the social awareness that is done through community service activities and support (Roper, 2005).
The championships together with All England Lawn Tennis club are involved in donations and charitable contributions towards the welfare of local communities (Roper, 2005). This has been done in areas such as Merton and Wandsworth. If proceedings from the tournament are excess, they are transferred to the Tennis Association of the country to help in developing the sport. The All England Lawn Tennis club also launched another tournament for championship called Wimbledon Junior Tennis initiative (Gregory, 2000).
This was launched in the year 2011 through a program called ‘The road to Wimbledon’. It also launched the Museum education program in the same year together with the department of education (Gregory, 2000). This was aimed at educating the primary and secondary level students undertaking leisure and physical education courses.
In conclusion, public relation has improved in the recent past in accordance to the changing information world. Through its changes, it has enabled the Wimbledon championship to grow from just a single country organization to a global organization. This was empowered by the ability to reach people from all over the world and attract large crowds. Relationship management has also improved through a great deal in the recent past.
This has helped many organizations to have healthy relationships with their clients. In case of Wimbledon championships, it has assisted in its development through intensive communication of the organizers and the general public, press, supporters, volunteers among others. Thus, public relations and relationship management will continue to undergo transformations in a way to keep up with the fast growing information world.
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